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London set for tougher restrictions - including no household visits - as uncertainty hangs over Manchester

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has been resisting following the Liverpool City Region into Tier 3 restrictions.

Image: Aaron Chown/PA Images

MILLIONS OF PEOPLE in London are set to face tougher coronavirus restrictions banning households mixing indoors, but a political row has meant no decision has been made on Greater Manchester.

MPs in the capital have been told London will move to Tier 2 at midnight tomorrow, meaning households will be banned from mixing indoors – including in pubs – from Saturday.

But a call between Greater Manchester leaders and Downing Street officials failed to reach an agreement on new restrictions and there will be further meetings later today, a source said.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has been resisting following the Liverpool City Region into Tier 3 restrictions.

A decision has been all but formally made to move Essex into Tier 2 restrictions shortly, the PA news agency understands.

And Lancashire MPs have been told that the region will stay under Tier 2 restrictions, despite speculation it would move into Tier 3.

Ministers are holding a series of talks with MPs from the regions affected by the changes ahead of Health Secretary Matt Hancock giving a Commons update on the measures.

2.56064902 Source: PA Graphics

London Mayor Sadiq Khan told City Hall the expected move to Tier 2 is based on “expert public health and scientific advice about what is necessary to save lives in the capital” but stressed that he was pushing for extra support from the Government.

“Nobody wants to see more restrictions – but this is deemed to be necessary in order to protect Londoners’ lives by myself, London council leaders and by ministers,” he said.

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Health Secretary Hancock explained: “Infection rates are on a steep upward path with the number of cases doubling every 10 days.

“The seven-day average case rate stands today at 97 rising sharply. We know from the first peak, the infection can spread fast and put huge pressures on the NHS so we must act now to prevent the need for tougher measures later on.

“So working closely with the mayor, with cross-party council leadership, with local public health officials and the national team, we’ve together agreed that London needs to move to local Covid alert level high.”

Hancock thanked those who work and live in the capital, adding: “We all need to play our part in getting the virus under control once again.”

The ban on households mixing indoors could be devastating for the capital’s 3,640 pubs and 7,556 restaurants – who will see business suffer but will not be eligible for UK government support available to premises which have been ordered to close.

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